Cell Phones and Honeybees

Way back in 2007, we posted an item about how cell phones might be responsible for Colony Collapse Disorder, which is affecting the world honeybee population. Now, scientists in India have published results of an experiment that corroborates the theory.
In a study at Panjab University in Chandigarh, northern India, researchers fitted cell phones to a hive and powered them up for two fifteen-minute periods each day.

After three months, they found the bees stopped producing honey, egg production by the queen bee halved, and the size of the hive dramatically reduced.

It's not just the honey that will be lost if populations plummet further. Bees are estimated to pollinate 90 commercial crops worldwide. Their economic value in the UK is estimated to be $290 million per year and around $12 billion in the U.S.

The Mobile Operators Association in England, which represents British cell companies, disagrees with the results. Link

The Telegraph has more reactions to this report. Link

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It may have been a poorly executed experiment, but I've heard the suggestion of mobile phones might affect bees a handful of times before.

Aside from the earlier Neatorama article (Landau University of Koblenz, Germany), I saw an interview with a beekeper somewhere (I forget where) who said hives thrive best wherever he can't get phone reception.

Yes, for the most part unsubstatiated hearsay, but surely that's a good place to start looking. Lets do some proper experiments. Let's either prove or disprove it instead of arguing over inconclusive 'evidence'.
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It's encouraging to see healthy skepticism. You would think such an experiment could shore up funding in the US or Canada, but no--it has to be in India.

Relax--there are bees everywhere.
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This is junk science in it's purest form. The "experiment" was run by placing cell phones on exactly one hive. One!

I ate a chocolate bar. Later I got a headache. Therefore we should ban chocolate because it gives everyone headaches. Hey! I'm a scientist! Who knew?
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